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Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 2:15-16’

Being Exemplary

January 27th, 2014

“Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

Personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being exemplary.”

Maybe you have heard it said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Such instruction doesn’t work so well in parenting, or relationships of any kind. The problem with such advice is this: personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction. Words take little time, minimal cost, and marginal effort to tell someone what to do. The most accurate instruction is not nearly as effective as modeling. The best teaching, and therefore most enduring learning, includes example and demonstration.

In previous comments last week, I wrote, “As God came into His world by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God works today in our world to bring lost people from unbelief to faith as His Word is incarnated in the very lives that have been forever changed.” But how does that work? Paul wrote to Christ-followers, “[You are] known and read by everybody, you show that you are a letter from Christ . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3-4 NKJV. (See “Living Letters,” EDL, Friday, January 24, 2014). I want to further develop how God achieves that incarnation of truth through the lives of those who know and trust Him as Savior.

Jesus’ expectation and your assignment are clear, “Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Tim 4:12-13 NLT. Now, that’s a holy mission requiring devotion and sacrifice. How can you and I bring a living word to a world where the plethora of inauthentic words and paucity of worthy examples devalue efforts?

In humility, Jesus understood, “The Son can do nothing of Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son also does [in like manner]. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all He does . . I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father who sent Me gave Me His own instructions as to what I should say. And I know that His instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 5:19-20 NIV/12:49-50 NLT.

The Father modeled for Jesus what He should say and do and the Son wisely followed His Father’s example with His disciples, and with us. As Jesus learned from His Father, He taught by example and modeling all the Father taught Him. To His disciples, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done.” John 13:15 NLT. In your strength alone, success is impossible. You need the indwelling Word of God and anointing of the Spirit. See Colossians 3:16-17 NIV.

The calling is daunting but the solution is this simple. Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT. If you will walk as He directs, speak what He says, and do the will of the Father as He did, you are following His example and your life will be extraordinary. “Live as children of God in a dark world . . Let your lives shine brightly before them.” Philippians 2:15-16 NLT. Being ordinary is nothing special; being exemplary is.

My prayer for you today is that you are a shining example of all that is good and holy.

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Make Room for People

September 9th, 2013

“Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman.”  2 Kings 4:8 NKJV.

What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.

My thoughts and comments today are to “make room for people.”

Be careful; without realizing it, your life can become too small, or too busy, or so self-centered that you have room only for yourself. That lifestyle is selfish, unsatisfying, and eventually lonely. Making room for other people is an intentional lifestyle issue. The Bible is clear; “Therefore as [you] have opportunity, do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10 NIV. Jesus promised that whatever good you do for others is credited as being for Him, but also warned that neglect of others is negligence toward Him. “I assure you, when you did it to the least of these . . you were doing it to Me . . when you refused to help the least of these . . you were refusing to help Me.” Read Matthew 25:34-46 NLT.

In the Old Testament, there is an otherwise anonymous lady who lived in Shunem, a small, unspectacular village. But the Bible described her as, “notable.” Read 2 Kings 4:8-10 NKJV. Of the many words to describe a person; I think “notable” may be one of the best. Blessed are those who make room in their heart and home for others.  This woman can be described as “notable” because room for others in her heart and life provided a spare room in her home. “Let’s make a little room for [this holy man of God] . . and furnish it with a bed, a table and chair, and a lamp.” (Verses 9-10 NLT). She provided for his comfort, and more. From her practical furnishings – “a bed, table, and lamp” – I suggest three simple applications. She provided Elisha room for rest, refreshment, and revelation.

Make room for people to be rested. For those spiritually and emotionally drained from the cares of life: their struggles, failures, sorrows, or regrets, make room in your heart and life where others find shelter recovery. You can be a living example of Jesus’ invitation, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened . . and you will find rest for your soul.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. Proper rest renews vigor, hope, and fresh resolve in a person’s heart.

Make room for people to be refreshed. For those with a soul hunger for forgiveness, acceptance, friendship, understanding, hope, or practical help, make room in your life where others are refreshed in spirit. Your welcome and invitation to them becomes Jesus’ promise, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NKJV.

Make room for people to receive revelation. For those where questions and doubt have darkened their spirit, make room in your life for them where light and illumination reveals truth and hope. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world . . Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father . . children of God . . [who] shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.” See Matthew 5:14-16 NLT/Philippians 2:15-16 NKJV.

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes Me . . whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these because he is My follower will certainly receive a reward.” Read Matthew 10:40-42 NLT. A friend of mine explained that principle, “What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.”

My prayer for you today is that your heart and home are open to God and others.

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Blame

November 4th, 2010

“Don’t try to disclaim responsibility by saying you didn’t know.” Proverbs 24.12 TLB

Blame is a lame attempt to avoid facing your own truth.”

My thoughts today are about “blame.”

What kid has not deflected blame by saying, “It’s not my  fault; it’s theirs!” Blaming someone else never does much good, but people do it all the time. Adam and Eve did it in the otherwise perfect surroundings of Eden, and most everyone since has done so. Imagine how much better everything would be today if they had just said, “Yeah, I did it; I was wrong; I’m sorry!”

Blame McDonalds for their coffee being too hot when you clumsily spill the cup in your lap. Blame your parents for your unhappiness as an adult. Blame the fast food industry for your obesity when you can’t resist “biggie sizing.” Blame the auto manufacturer when your unsafe driving causes a tragic accident. Blame the President, or Congress, or Democrats, or Republicans, or all of the above, when the world’s political situations are not to your liking. Does it change anything?

Assigning fault and blame in any situation is not as easy as you may presume, because of our always limited knowledge and often faulty judgment. Be charitable when forming opinions about others, as you hope others will view you charitably. “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 NKJV. It is easier to fault others than accept responsibility yourself. Read Matthew 7:1-5 NLT.

On President Harry Truman’s desk in the Oval Office was a sign that read simply, “The buck stops here.” He had to make some difficult and unpopular decisions, such as the first use of an atomic bomb against Japan to end World War ll. But he accepted full responsibility for his actions and decisions. As our 33rd President (1945-53), he led our nation at a challenging time of war in Japan and later in Korea, as well as dealing with a struggling economy.

He was not always popular, but was respected for his mid-western honesty. In office, he had the lowest approval of any President before or since, but some political historians would now rank Harry Truman among the top ten Presidents, along with Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Blame is usually a lame attempt to avoid facing your own truth. Do you believe what Jesus said? “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32. Avoiding the truth is the surest way to keep re-living your mistakes, and then wondering why. Until you admit your mistake, you keep having problems and placing blame elsewhere. “Don’t try to disclaim responsibility by saying you didn’t know . . God knows all hearts . . and He will reward everyone according to their deeds.” Proverbs 24:12 TLB.

There is one sure way to stop “passing the buck.” Live in such a way that you are without blame yourself, and you will see no need to shuffle the blame to any other! “That you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a generation . . among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life . . ” Philippians 2:15-16.

My prayer for you is that you will always value truth, and live in its freedom.

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